Everybody knows, I don’t have bad days. I think you chose your mood. And I chose to always been in a good mood. Or at least I try. I am very rarely “in a mood”. Even when I have days that just beat me down, I’m generally pretty resilient. Friday was not one of those days. Friday I was the bug.
I’d been working this guy since July. Actually, I’d been working his brother-in-law because he lives in Europe. In August we wrote on a property. It was on the market at $1.1 million. He insisted on writing at $900k. I got him up to $950k. The property went for $1.2 million. He had this idea in his head that people in this area just wanted to give their property away because there were no buyers or something and that he ruled the world because he had some cash. I don’t even know what. Rarely do I lose out by $250k. Two weeks ago I got him into contract on another property. He bid $39k under asking and getting him up to the next $24k was like pulling teeth. And at every turn he was wanting to renegotiate down. It was exhausting. We were going to negotiate down, but I needed to get some reports in first so I could handle it in a certain manner to assure I got maximum results with minimal push back. We’d put in an appraisal contingency on a cash deal and the thing didn’t appraise. There was also some work to be done. I wanted to get the work done and then say “Oh, just one more thing, it didn’t appraise”.
By then, we’d be three weeks in and we’d have the upper hand. I like to call my sales technique the “Columbo technique”. I spend a lot of time saying “Just one more thing….” Anywho, one of the reports suggested that there might be an asbestos issue in the ducts. Since The Brother used to be an asbestos litigator, I don’t worry about asbestos because I know I get the best advice. We needed to order another test to determine if it really was asbestos and if it was, did it get into the ducting system and ultimately the house. As a generalization, even when the duct work falls apart, the testing will turn up barely registrable levels, but the testing needs to be done. As I said throughout this deal, it could be something or it could be nothing. This guy just went nuts and cancelled the transaction with no testing. He didn’t want his soon to be born child living in a house with asbestos. Dude, I promise you, if your place was built prior to 1980, it’s too late. As a matter of fact, most property in Contra Costa County has it in it. The Brother’s house has it in it. Don’t disturb it and it’s fine. Disturb with care, but if it’s not disturbed it’s not an issue. But more than that it was this guy’s approach. Basically once I got him into contract he started grinding everybody’s eyeballs down to powder. By the time he pulled out, I was beyond through with him. He cancelled and I fired him. It was my first escrow to fall out. I don’t lose deals. I knew eventually I would, but it’s still soul crushing. So Friday sucked, majorly.
I knocked off around 3pm on Friday, went and got a sixer of some hand crafted brew and a bag of Fritos. Yeah, it was that bad. I got a call from the office that a buyer couldn’t get into their property. They weren’t my buyer. They were someone else’s buyers and they lied to me. I had to leave my hand crafted brew and my corn chips and go let these nitwits into their property, a job their agent should have been doing. To say I was abusive towards them would be kind. You know how liars will never stop talking? Yeah, I told them to shut up. That sent them to the moon so I told them “Fine, you’re on your own” and started to leave. Then all of the sudden they shut up and listened to what I was saying. In the end they were lying to me. They said we gave them a key that didn’t work but when I got the property open (with the help of a locksmith) there was their personal property inside. They’d already been inside and wanted us to fix their problem. I’m glad I yelled at them. Liars deserve that.
I woke up yesterday morning knowing I had to turn this rig around and quickly. Lucky for me, I’d received an invitation to come up to the offices of Hahn Family Wines in Napa for an event. The event was a Twitter Taste Live. I don’t know who’s original brainchild the Twitter Taste Lives are, but they’re kind of geeky and kind of fun. Essentially, anyone can participate. There is a preset selection of wine that is tasted. The progression is preset. Tasters tweet their notes on Twitter. Generally they gather and have pairings along with the wine. Did I mention that I was lucky enough to be invited up to Hahn Family Wines for the event? Because last night’s tasting was a sampling of their wines. Philip Woodrow, who works for them put together an amazing spread. The man’s got mad skillz.
They opened with the Cycles Gladiator Chardonnay. This little sweetheart comes in at $10 a bottle. It is a stupid price for a very interesting wine. It’s creamy with a bit of vanilla and tropical fruit tones. Philip paired it with a Smoked Trout Brandade. Did I mention the man has mad skillz? The Smoked Trout was best of show in a crowded field of amazing recipes. It paired beautifully with the Chardonnay and I could have merrily stopped right there and spent the evening polishing off the Smoked Trout and Chardonnay. But there was more wine to taste. And more food to enjoy. The next offering was Hahn Estates Pinot Noir. Paul Clifton, the winemaker, who we have discussed very favorably on PBE in the past is a Pinot god. He was also on and participating from Monterey County. That’s how cool these things can be. This pinot was perfect in my book. Nice smoke, bright cherries, spice and a gentle finish. Philip paired it with prawns wrapped in prosciutto. The pinot was very happy paired with it. I didn’t really want to move on to the next wine because the pinot was so good, but move on we did. OK, I was the last person in the room to finish my pinot. The Smith & Hook Cab was next. It was paired with a tri-tip with a reduction of the same wine. Of all the wine, this was my least favorite. It was good, but it’s a Central Coast Cab and to me it’s like making crabcakes out of imitation crab. Except Paul’s a better winemaker so it comes out a lot better than it should. It was jammy, which isn’t the first thing I look for in a cab and tight on the finish. OK tannic. I know that’s the right word. There was some mocha hints in the mid palate. It was very good with the tri tip and really, with a $24 price point, you can’t go wrong with this one. Next up was the Petite Sirah. Philip’s wife, Reynolds was in the kitchen toasting marshmallows with a blow torch. Ok a kitchen torch, blow torch sounds like more fun. They had these cookies (which I’m sure everyone but me knows what they are) that were like Pepperidge Farm Chessman but had a thick layer of milk chocolate on them. Actually, I think they’re from Belgium.
I’m sure somebody knows what they are. Anyway, they paired the Huntington Petite Sirah with s’mores. The hit of the night. That Petite Syrah was wild. Full of chocolate, blueberry and vanilla. Deep, dark and inky. A perfect pairing. That wine plays out like a lot more than a $14 price point. I would pair it with Cuban food without blinking an eye. It had it all going on. I put that thought out there in the twitterverse and another guy concurred. That’s the fun of these things. If I had room, I’d get a case of that Petite Sirah. Philip didn’t stop there, for those of us who were at the offices, he pulled out a Santa Lucia Highlands Syrah to finish off the evening. This wine had a lot of similar qualities to the Huntington, except it was more elegant. If the Huntington was like a vibrant party, the Hahn was like a white table cloth dinner. Chocolate, spice, dark fruit but add some excellent mouthfeel and this one was a great wine to end the evening on. But Philip didn’t stop there. As things were breaking up I stopped to thank him and Reynolds and the Hahn crew for a great evening and he insisted on making me a cuppa Joe for the road from their very cool coffee machine. A most excellent cuppa Joe.
Thanks to Philip and the folks at Hahn for helping me turn this rig around.